Pfizer CEO Pay Jumps on Turnaround Efforts

Published March 15, 2012

| Reuters

Pfizer Inc (PFE) said Chief Executive Ian Read's compensation jumped more than 40 percent last year to $25 million as he steered a steady course for the world's biggest drugmaker while its Lipitor cholesterol fighter began facing competition from cheaper generics.

Read was named CEO in December, 2010, after the surprise resignation of Jeffrey Kindler, and three months ago he assumed additional responsibility as chairman of the New York-based company. Before taking the helm of Pfizer, he held numerous senior executive roles there for 32 years, including as the global head of pharmaceuticals.

His basic salary for 2011 rose to $1.7 million, from $1.2 million in 2010, the company said on Thursday in a regulatory filing. The value of his stock awards more than doubled to $5.7 million, while the value of his stock option awards rose almost six-fold to $5.7 million, according to the filing.

Read's annual cash incentive awards more than doubled to $3.5 million, while all other compensation rose to $319,288. The value of his pension and non-qualified deferred compensation rose $6.89 million, compared with almost $11 million in 2010, when Read's years of service at Pfizer reached a target threshold.

"Under the leadership of Ian Read, we set a course to redefine and strengthen Pfizer," the filing said, as the company faced pricing pressures on its many medicines and the loss of U.S. marketing exclusivity in November on Lipitor. The world's longtime best-selling drug had annual global sales of $13 billion at its peak.

Pfizer said it had improved its performance during 2011 by reducing research spending by nearly $1 billion. That feat came, however, at the expense of thousands of Pfizer researchers, whose jobs are being eliminated along with numerous laboratories in an effort to ultimately slash Pfizer research spending by up to $2 billion a year.

Moreover, the drugmaker said it returned $15.2 billion to shareholders through dividends and stock buybacks last year and sought approvals for a number of new drugs.

The company, which bought U.S. rival Wyeth for $67 billion in late 2009 to bolster its array of medicines, has developed few big-selling drugs of its own since impotence-treatment Viagra was introduced in 1998.

Pfizer, under Read, has narrowed its focus to five main therapeutic areas and is considering either selling or spinning off its nutritional products and animal health units.

Proceeds from the transactions will likely be used to buy back company shares, Read has said, delighting investors and helping boost company shares almost 27 percent in the past twelve months.

Rival drugmaker Johnson & Johnson said on Wednesday its retiring Chief Executive William Weldon, 63, received $26.8 million in total compensation last year, down from $28.7 million in 2010.

But the company said Weldon, who has accepted personal blame for costly recalls of scores of its over-the-prescription drugs over the past three years, could receive more than $140 million when he retires as CEO next month.

J&J in a regulatory filing said Weldon had accumulated $95.1 million in various compensation programs and $48.4 million in pension benefits during his decade as CEO and 40 years with the diversified healthcare company. (Reporting By Ransdell Pierson; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)

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